Shatter Dead (1994)

After working as a production assistant to Frank Henenlotter on Frankenhooker and Basket Case 2, Scooter McCrae made this as his first movie. He’s only made two others since then — 1999’s Sixteen Tongues and 2015’s short Saint Frankenstein but man, every single one of them is astounding. And upsetting in a way that no shower can erase, no distance can take away.

Shatter Dead starts with a female Angel of Death making love to a human woman, stopping death from being real. Into this world walks Susan (Stark Raven) carrying a bag of groceries and anarsenall of weapons that she uses to pick off the living dead that get too close to her. Except these zombies don’t want brains or flesh or anything other than money and for someone to pay attention to them, making this as far from a zombie movie — that features zombies — as it gets.

After a preacher and his flock of the shambling masses steals her car on a country road. Soon, she meets Mary (Flora Fauna), an undead woman who committed suicide so that she could remain gorgeous for all eternity. There’s also a cult of religious zombies in this town that wants everyone to be dead and has no issue killing people to get them that way.

Susan runs from this insanity, making her way back to the preacher, who she shoots in the head and steals her car back. I guess that whole idea that death is better than life and how the old humanity is ending is now something that the man of the cloth can now live for himself.

By the time she makes her way back to her boyfriend and has the food for him, she learns that he’s already killed himself and come back from the dead. The blood no longer flows through his body, so to make love, she ties her gun to his crotch and takes it. She soon discovers that he’d poisoned her milk — add this to my Letterboxd poisoned milk list — and he tells her that now she can always be young and beautiful for him. She tries to shoot herself to ruin that but ends up blasting away at him, sending him out of a window to the unforgiving street below.

The preacher fixes wood all over Dan, allowing him to stand and walk almost as the Son of Man carried his cross. Susan tries to use water to bring life to her now dead eyes as Dan knocks and knocks, begging for her to let him in.

Shatter Dead is a movie with a vibe that corrects any issues of acting or pacing or shooting. It’s so different when it comes to not just SOV but movies in general.

McCrae told Quiet Earth, “I still love Shatter Dead because it’s just as crazy and sexy as it has ever been in my mind. In fact, I think it feels a bit more excessive now than when it was first made since there are not as many underground movies flooding the marketplace as there were back then. Explicit nudity and matter-of-fact sexuality seem more foreign to the current movie-going climate. What was shocking back then just seems unthinkable now, Shatter Dead feels like an artifact of a bygone era of moviemaking that I have a good deal of nostalgia for. I do wonder what modern viewers make of it.”

McCrae had originally titled this movie Dead People, which is ironic, as if this movie feels like any other film, it would be Messiah of Evil, a movie McCrae had not seen before he made it. Of that unheralded classic, he said, “I love the film immensely; I think in many ways it’s the closest thing we have to an American-made Dario Argento movie in terms of extreme stylization. So many beautiful shots of people wandering through rooms or standing next to paintings that they appear to become part of or disappear into.”

Trust me — Messiah of Evil is an untouchable work of Biblical level truth — but this movie gave me the same feeling that it exists on the very edge of something horribly real, at the outside of sanity, beyond the walls of my reality begging and screaming to be let in. It’s too real despite living in a world of unreal.

This movie really hit me perfectly. The end of the world is not gnashing and gnawing. It’s sighing.

You can get this from Saturn’s Core, a Vinegar Syndrome partner label.

Shreck (1990)

No not Shrek.

I don’t know who director Carl Denham is, but he’s not the guy who took King Kong to America. Instead, he’s making a movie about some screenprinting metalheads — my people, to be fair — who bring back Max Shreck — a German soldier who moved to Wisconsin and got gunned down by the cops in the 50s — the man who once owned the home where Roger Drake lives, makes pepperoni swastika pizza and watches old speeches from the war.

If you can make it past ten minutes of metal dudes going on and on about the Third Reich as newsreel footage plays, well, you’re going to be able to get through anything. Once the gore gets here and the wild time travel side story starts, though, this definitely gets better.

Back in high school, there were a lot of edgelords that drew swastikas all over the place and even made them in pottery class. My dad was an art teacher and one day, I remember him finding one in the kiln and instead of just letting it go, he picked it up and smashed it into pieces. I said, “That was someone’s project” and he replied, “You’re never wrong when you’re destroying one of those. Those should never be made again.” I hate that I now live in a world where people think it’s cool to be in groups that respect Hitler’s views and even worse, fly the swastika for dummies, the black and white American flag with that one blue line, like some fascist post-apocalyptic horror rag.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Death Metal Zombies (1995)

How true is Death Metal Zombies? Not only does a girl wear a Relapse shirt, but it also has a ton of that label’s artists on the soundtrack such as Amorphis, Brutality, Deceased, Disembowelment, Dismember, Hypocrisy, Incantation, Mortician, Pungent Stench and Winter.

It also has Brad Masters and his crew of metal dudes like to go to shows and fight other metal dudes in the woods, I guess to prove how kvlt they are. Brad wins, because he is the lucky caller who gets a Living Corpse tape — yes, this movie is so metal it has cassettes — from a radio show and it has a song called “Zombified” that turns everyone into — did you guess? — Death Metal Zombies.

Yes, the lead singer of Living Corpse, Shengar, is the lord of the dead world and man, that’s awesome. He decides to go after Brad’s girl, Angel, who skipped the party because she had to work and now she’s with a dude named Tommy and supposedly they know how to stop the headbanging dead.

Also: There’s a slasher on the loose wearing a Nixon mask.

Everyone in this movie is a master of air guitar, most essentially the girl in the Relapse shirt that is wearing the mommest of all mom jeans.

Todd Jason Cook also made Evil NightDemon DollsHorrorscopeLisa’s NightmaresFrightmares and Zombified, which has zombie attack a nightclub, a serial killer attacking people and only two people who can save everyone. So, you know, Death Metal Zombies.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Killing Spree (1987)

Tim Ritter might not be the best person for your female friends to date but we’re not trying to fix him up with someone. We’re watching SOV. For that, he’s the right person, as Killing Spree builds on the same plot I’ve seen in several of his movies — man is either getting cucked or has fears that his wife is sleeping around — and he loses it and kills everyone he knows.

Tom Russo is that man, an airplane mechanic working non-stop to keep a nice house for his wife Leeza. He’s sure that she’s cheating on him — he’s read her diary — so he starts killing anyone who she has written about, starrting with his friend Ben and a punk girl whose head he cuts off and uses as a weapon to murder his former buddy.

Anyone in Leeza’s notebook dies, like the electrican who gets chopped off by a machete ceiling fan and the lawn guy who gets buried up to his neck and mowed.

The truth? Leeza has been writing for a romance magazine to earn money so Tom doesn’t have to work so hard. But now, Maniac-like, all the victims are coming back from the dead and begin to shout at Tom to kill his wife so they can rest.

Shot on 16mm instead of camcorder — yes, I know, it’s another SOV that doesn’t live up to the format — this movie has an old ladyt’s face get hammer-based surgery and the line “You screw my wife, I screwdrive your head!”

Also: The lead actor’s name is Asbestos Felt.

Things II (1998)

Things II is not a sequel to 1989’s Things. No, it’s a sequel to 1993’s Things and how about the fact that there are two SOV movies called Things? Well, Dennis Devine, who directed and wrote this with Steve Jarvis and Mike Bowler, also directed Fatal ImagesDon’t Look In the Cellar and Demon Kiss (want to learn more? Check out Drive-In Friday: Dennis Devine Night).

Horror writer Dean F. Keene orders a pizza and tells two of his stories to the delivery girl. “The Thing From Nanchung” has Stace getting a monster from a scientist and feeding it chutney and that’s she’s going to lead it to kill her husband Dexter and get to be with her true love Sam. Then two thieves come in and the whole plan may be ruined. Steve Jarvis directed this part.

“The Thing From The Lab” has a cop hunting down a serial killer called The Westside Strangler who may be an insect while romancing a photographer who has already had the creature kill someone in her studio. This segment was directed by Devine and has a slasher theme mixed with some strange science fiction monster action.

Mike Bowler, who would make Hell Spa, was in charge of the wraparound and the stories all work together. This is the precursor to the streaming horror anthologies that glut my inbox, except that it’s closer to a real horror anthology because there was some thought and care put into it.

If you’re looking for what happened after the 1989 Things, prepare yourself for Wicked World.

Nightmare Asylum (1992)

Todd Sheets has disavowed this movie but it’s still got its charms. Lisa (Lori Hassel) wanders through, well, a Nightmare Asylum for around an hour. There’s a creepy family, some killers, a Leatherface-like big boss and a zombie pit at the end, all in a movie that was shot at various points with several different groups of people and then edited into whatever this is.

The star of the whole thing is The Devil’s Dark Side Haunted House where this was made. It’s already got some cool lighting and fog, plus you get to see some horror icons inside an SOV. Sheets is a big fan of Fulci and you can see the absolute movie idea from The Beyond in this, except that sound goes in and out so much and the video quality defines murky and this only dreams of the budget of the cheapest of Italian film.

But man, I do love Enochian Key’s songs and Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” which is super classy compared to what’s happening inside the movie.

The good news is that Sheets really improved as a filmmaker without losing the strange energy that is all over the place here. That makes me so happy.

Sandy Hook Lingerie Party Massacre (2000)

Yes, before you become outraged, keep in mind that this was made 12 years before Sandy Hook and doesn’t take place in Newtown, Connecticut, but instead Sandy Hook, New Jersey, a beach town where seven strippers all decide to have a weekend party.

Tim Beckley, who directed, wrote and stars in this as Mr. Creepo — he was also that character in his films Skin Eating Jungle VampiresBarely Legal Lesbian Vampires: The Curse of Ed Wood! and Punk Rock Zombie Kung Fu Catfight — got his start in adult, appearing in movies like Brooke Does CollegeHostage Girls and Long Hard Nights. More than that, he was a film reviewer for Hustler and the editor of Adult Cinema Review, as well as the author of The Philadelphia Experiment Revelations!Cryptid Creatures From Dark Domain and a book on Danzig’s bookshelf, Occult Secrets Of The Third Reich. Actually, that didn’t come out until 2017, so maybe Glenn had a different one back when he showed off his collection. Beckley was also married to Christy Canyon, Kimberly Carson and Kelly Nichols over his lifetime.

Sadly, as wild as Beckley’s real life sounds, the movie that he made is basically home video footage of musician Didi Delicious, fetish model Stephanie Hudson, Zane Ka, Persephone, Jeannene Scofield, Margaret Scura and the whole reason you should be watching this, Debbie Rochon. From Santa Claws to Mistress FrankensteinSlime City Massacre and Post Apocalyptic Commando Shark, I’ve watched so many movies just when I see her name.

This is another one and wow, it’s a rough watch. You know when your dad learned how to use the videocamera? Imagine this but with naked Twister and endless beach scene mixed with some bad murders.

Paura il diavolo (1992)

Darren Ward, who directed and wrote this SOV horror film, called his studio — well, as much a studio as SOV gets — Giallo Films. He went on from this to make the movie Sudden Fury (the last movie of David Warbeck), Three Tickets to HellNightmaresA Day of Violence (which has Italian star Giovanni Lombardo Radice in the cast) and Beyond Fury (which also stars Radice).

Consider this a British SOV Evil Dead, as the lead opens a bag he finds buried in his backyard and unleashes puppet demons that kill the entire teenage cast. There’s also a wacky alien pig mask that transforms that dude into a demon.

Unlike so many gather your buddy SOV films, Paura il diavolo  is smart enough to be 41 minutes long and not wear out its welcome. It also brings with it plenty of gore, which is really the reason to be watching this. I have to revise that whole Venn diagram of SOV to also include Sam Raimi fans, gorehounds, metalheads and people whose parents owned a videocamera.

You have to love a teenage British horror fan who says “presenta” in the poster for his movie and tries to make an Argento by way of no budget video Deadite ridiculousness.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Duck! The Carbine High Massacre (1999)

Made just four months after the tragedy at Columbine High School, Duck! The Carbine High Massacre was made by William Helfire, who was on painkillers due to cancer pain, and Joey Smack on consumer-grade VHS cameras, a broadcast Super VHS camcorder, a standard handheld RCA and another unidentified camcorder for $3,000.

Hellfire said, “Like I don’t remember most of Duck!, I don’t remember…I shot all these films in a semi-subconscious, drugged-out, zombified state. I had no remorse nor regard for anything.”

Derwin (Hellfire) and Derick (Smack) are the not-so-disguised movie versions of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the real killers. These guys are trying to buy missiles with credit cards and get an idea to blow up the school from what may be an alien janitor.

Erin Brown — also known as Misty Mundae — explained why this movie was filmed by saying, “When those two kids snapped at Columbine High everyone in the Factory — Factory 2000 is the studio of sorts that Hellfire and Smack ran — was walking on clouds, excited, asking ourselves “Is this the shape of things to come? Is the machine finally breaking down to the point where our youth is beginning to exterminate each other at puberty?” We felt before it could be made into some All-American “family values” propaganda TV movie mini-series, we would produce it from the killers’ perspective and, of course, add the Factory’s manifesto into their logic. Everyone involved had found high school a tortuous and stifling environment so it wasn’t very difficult to imagine why the incident occurred. Then to see it replayed on the news again and again made the incident a prime target. The final outcome is a wonderful gut-splitting social satire.”

The scene where her Bible girl character is killed was so divisive that the cast and crew threatened to walk, thinking that the film had gone too far.

Speaking of going too far, Smack and William Hellfire were arrested for carrying real weapons on the grounds of an elementary school months after the shooting as the police ordered a copy of the film online. According to Hellfire, “The FBI was involved and discouraged any action noting it was only a movie’ but the local Ringwood police really wanted to get on TV. They were laughing and telling me not to worry that I was gonna be famous’ Judge laughed it out of court. We made the news for like two weeks straight. Nancy Grace made nasty faces at us. Fox News called us copy cat killers.”

For two guys who mainly made fetish-oriented horror movies for W.A.V.E Productions, this movie has a really heavy weight at the end as the two killers take one another out to escape this world. Now, I think this is a horribly made movie that is packed with too much filler and the aims of being edgy just to be edgy, yet there are also valid points made that high school doesn’t work and actually causes these events or at least doesn’t help the souls who short circuit and take out people.

You can be angry that this movie exists or you can be mad that 24 days into 2023, when I’m writng this, there have already been 36 mass shootings and not a single one, no hopes and prayers, have done anything to push people to come up with a solution or halt the raging erection that so many Americans have for owning guns.

Also: If exploitation cinema offends you, isn’t it doing it’s job?

You can get the Saturn’s Core blu ray of this movie from Vinegar Syndrome. You can also download it from the Internet Archive.

Detroit Rock Movie (1999)

No, not Detroit Rock CityDetroit Rock Movie was shot on video because filmmaker Benjamin Hernandez, said “We were kind of rushing to make that movie because we all felt that this whole garage-rock thing was about to become played out and this was going to fade. Amusingly enough, now people are starting to notice.”

Bands and personalities like 2 Star Tabernacle, the Volebeats, Brendan Benson and the White Stripes, the band most associated with the garage sound of 2000s Detroit, are all shown performing and then speaking right from the places where they live and practice. Sometimes, those are the same places.

Hernandez also appears in the White Stripes’ video for “Candy Coloured Blues.”

The quality of this is, as you can imagine, rough as it was shot on video, yet it’s a vital document of a scene that had not broken out and become something bigger. This was before the time that people even knew that Jack and Meg weren’t brother and sister, so it’s a way different era.

Depending on how much you like this time and music, you can check it out for yourself on the. Internet Archive.